Speaking to Express.co.uk, chief executive of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, stated moving London into Tier 3 restrictions will decimate the city’s economy in the long run. Not only will pubs and bars be forced to shut from today, Ms Nicholls stated they may never reopen due to the economic losses caused by the lack of business. While Ms Nicholls understood London’s infection rate had begun to rise rapidly, she also questioned the decision given the low infection rate within venues and demanded Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson come up with a new plan quickly.
If new measures are not brought in to save the industry, Ms Nicholls warned up to one million jobs could be lost across the country.
Not only will the unemployment rate rise but she expects to lose an additional 25,000 hospitality venues (25,000 have already been lost) by the end of the pandemic which could cause serious damage to London’s tourism sector.
She told Express.co.uk: “The decision is going to have catastrophic consequences for London’s economy.
“We expect heavy job losses and closures of certain venues which frankly won’t come back.
“But the implications are longer lasting and more widespread than just that.
“There’s a long-term impact, because this obviously impacts on consumer confidence and particularly International Visitor confidence.
“London hospitality market is driven primarily by international tourists, business travellers, and leisure visitors, I’d spent makes up about 70 to 80%, of spend across central London in hospitality.
“I think there’s a very real danger that without additional support, that the industry is going to be decimated.”
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Industry leaders and business owners have called on the Government to change the restrictions, stating the data shows transmission being relatively low when they’re open.
They also point to how retail shops remain open while hospitality is forced to close.
Ms Nicholls concluded: “I think what businesses really need is a longer term plan and a clear exit strategy from all of those stakeholders who are involved in the discussion.
“We urgently need the government to set out a coherent, joined-up plan and an exit strategy from the tears and the restrictions, and link that into rollout to the vaccine and rapid math testing.
“We’re in danger of having no economy to return to in hospitality by the time we get through this disease and have a vaccine rollout.”
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock however, did state further restriction were needed in the capital especially due to the rising infection rate, with some boroughs now recording the highest infection rates in the country.